Pimentel: Pushing for barangay, SK polls this year 'a long shot'

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines, September 22) -  Sen. Koko Pimentel thinks the effort to hold the upcoming barangay and Sangguniang Kabataan elections (BSKE) as scheduled is "a long shot," with the bid to postpone them only a step away from getting final approval in the Senate.

"I think the proposal got an overwhelming support sa House. In the Senate yesterday, two of us voted no in the approval on second reading," Pimentel told CNN Philippines' The Source on Thursday.

"Since there are 24 members in the Senate, pwede na nating i-assume na 22 versus two," he added. "So long shot ang position namin."

[Translation: Since there are 24 members in the Senate, we can assume it will be 22 versus two," he added. "So, our position is a long shot.]

Only Pimentel and fellow minority Sen. Risa Hontiveros voted on Wednesday against Senate Bill No. 1306, which moves the polls from Dec. 5 this year to the second Monday of December 2023.

Senator Imee Marcos, chairperson of the Committee on Electoral Reforms and People's Participation and also sponsor of the bill, said moving the polls to December next year would buy time for lawmakers to debate a series of measures her panel is pushing for in order to address issues confronting the barangay and SK systems.

READ: Senate OKs on second reading bill postponing barangay, SK elections 

On Tuesday, the House of Representatives passed on final reading its version of the measure deferring the BSKE.

Both versions (Senate and House) will have to go through the bicameral committee deliberations before being transmitted to the President for his approval.

Commission on Elections chairman George Garcia earlier said further delays in the decision may potentially cause "complications" with the filing of certificates of candidacies scheduled on Oct. 6-13.

He said, however, that no ballots will be wasted even if the polls will eventually be postponed since the voters will manually fill them out with the names of their preferred candidates.

READ: Comelec to solons: Decide on fate of barangay, SK elections before end-Sept 

The last barangay and SK polls were held in May 2018 after being postponed twice.